So Nintendo had themselves a little party this week. You may have seen something about it. Unfortunately, people weren't entirely positive about the whole thing, especially the new DSi console. Here's my opinions on what went down:
Man, I have no idea what to think of this. Let's look at the pros and the cons. The pros: noticably bigger screens, slimmer design, improved audio quality, longer stylus, built-in cameras, much nicer menu, downloadable games and apps, and both internal and external storage. The cons: no GBA slot, a few hours knocked off the battery life, slightly bigger footprint.
I'm not too bothered by the loss of the GBA slot. I was surprised they kept it in the Lite. I guess that if you're a huge Guitar Hero: On Tour fan then this will be a problem for you, but I'm fine with it. Now, it's no secret that I love the DS. In recent times the library has dwindled somewhat (but see the next section about that), but I nonetheless love it. I could go for bigger screens and downloadable games.
One thing that has me a little worried is that this all looks a little bit like the Game Boy lifecycle. There was the big, clunky Game Boy (the DS phat), the slimmer and all-round better GB Pocket (DS Lite) and then the GB Color, which was very similar to the Pocket but with, well, color. It played all the old GB games, and had a small library of Color-only titles. In the end, the GB Color was more like a stepping stone to the real next-gen Game boy, the GBA. It's entirely possible that that could happen here. The DSi will have a few games that will leverage the cameras, extra memory, and better Wi-Fi, while also playing the whole DS library (except Guitar Hero and Mag Kid). Then two years or so down the line, the DS2 will finally arrive.
I'm not rushing out to import just yet (I'll at least wait for hands-on impressions), but it seems like an okay update.
New Software Lineups
If you've spoken to me about Nintendo in the past few months, you'll know that I've been growing increasingly more annoyed with Nintendo, in particular their software lineup, or lack thereof. I mean, let's look at their holiday titles for this year: on the Wii we have Wii Music (not a game), and Animal Crossing (more of the same). On DS, we have Kirby (a remake) and Pokémon Ranger 2. Things aren't looking good.
Well, I'm much more entusiastic today. The stuff they've announced for next year looks really good. They've got Punch-Out!!, Sin & Punishment 2, Another Code for Wii, Mario & Luigi 3, a new WarioWare, the Fire Emblem 1 remake, and Rhythm Heaven. Things are looking better. Admittedly they could be crap, but at least they're making real games, and not just Mario and Zelda again either. And this isn't really Nintendo's doing, but the GTA on DS looks awesome.
I think this is awesome news. They're rereleasing older Gamecube games for the Wii, but they're updating them with widescreen and prog scan support, and Wii Remote and Nunchuk controls. But I don't think this is going to work in all cases. For example Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat, one of the first to get "Wii-made," is just going to get a standard platformer control scheme, stripping out the bongo controls, which is what really made the game unique. On the other hand, both Metroid Primes are being given the MP3 control scheme, which is brilliant news. Hopefully these releases will benefit from the massive Wii audience and people who missed out the first time around will get to play some of these fantastic titles, like Chibi-Robo.
What else deserves a second chance on Wii? F-Zero GX? Paper Mario 2? Luigi's Mansion?
The Wii Storage Solution
Satoru Iwata said at the Japanese press conference that Nintendo have finally worked out a solution of sorts for the Wii's storage problem, and it's an idea that I've been ranting about since the system was released: using the SD slot. From next Spring, we'll be able to download from the Shop Channel directly onto the SD card. And they say they'll make the process of moving games on the card to the system much easier. I sure hope so, because I'm out of space, and transferring to the card takes way too long to be practical (and that's only a one-way transfer.) I think it's taken them far too long to put together this "solution" that should have been there on day one, but whatever. It's not like I'm going crazy over the downloadable offerings at the moment anyway.